After several months of reports of malfunctions, car accidents, and products liability lawsuits regarding defects in Toyota vehicles, followed by several more months of a Toyota public relations campaign, it seemed that the Toyota gas pedal defect controversy was – finally – a thing of the past. However, after two people were killed and two were injured when a 2008 Toyota Camry crashed into a rock wall in Utah, officials and consumers have begun to question whether the millions of Toyota vehicle recalls actually solved the gas pedal problems.
Toyota vehicles have been subject to recalls on a continual basis since the first was announced in September 2007. However, the automaker gained national attention in October 2009 with the recall of 5.4 million vehicles due to an unsecured floor mat that could cause the vehicle’s gas pedal to get stuck in the wide-open position. An additional recall of 2.3 million vehicles was announced in January after several reports of accelerators that stuck in the wide-open position for no apparent reason, leading to accidents and injuries.
Although the Utah car accident is still under investigation, skid marks leading to the scene of the crash indicate that the driver, who was killed, attempted to stop the vehicle as it exited a freeway. The car went through an intersection and a stop sign before hitting the rock wall, and police believe a sticking gas pedal was to blame. “Based on statements from witnesses and statements from those that survived the crash inside the car, the investigator is led to believe that the pedal was stuck,” said Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Todd Johnson.
Investigators believe that the driver took his Camry to get repaired in accordance with the recall, but are not completely sure. According to Toyota, about three million vehicles subject to the recall had been fixed as of November.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “Toyota gas pedal safety back in spotlight after two die in Camry crash in western Utah”, Brock Vergaris and Ken Thomas, 15 November 2010